Does it work all year round?
From March to September solar energy could provide all your hot water but will only partly heat the water during the winter months, when your boiler will need to be used to bring it up to temperature. Most homes will need to replace their current hot water cylinder, with a dual coil solar model.
Is solar water heating a viable alternative to gas or electricity?
Solar should not be seen as an alternative to gas or electricity, but rather as a supplement. Solar cannot totally replace the need for gas or electric heating as there are sometimes days when there is little sunlight. When averaged over a year, a correctly-sized solar system can provide 60%-70% of a household’s hot water needs. Providing more than this is unadvisable, as too much heat will be produced in the summer. The hot water system can easily be automated so hot water is guaranteed regardless of sunlight levels.
Will water be heated on a cloudy day?
Yes. Although the heat output of the solar collector is reduced on overcast days it will still be able to provide heating. If it is a very cloudy day or raining, then more gas or electric boosting may be required to maintain water at the required temperature. This system will be automated so you don't have to worry about running out of hot water on a rainy day.